Start-Up Status Gone With the Skate Ramp
When is a fledgling company no longer a start-up? Once the skateboard ramp disappears, says Rob Kalin, the founder of Etsy Inc., an online emporium of handmade goods based in Brooklyn.
And while Etsy is only three years old, Mr. Kalin got rid of the ramp six months ago. But that wasn’t the only change: he knew he needed professional management. “We hit a point in growth that we needed people who have done this before,” he said.
As a result, Mr. Kalin, 28, has relinquished his role as chief executive to return to the creative side of the company, which has more than 60 employees and sells 15,000 to 20,000 items a day, Mr. Kalin said. Taking his place is Maria Thomas, who was hired in April as chief operating officer. Also joining the company is Chad Dickerson as chief technology officer. Mr. Kalin will remain as chairman and will focus on creative efforts as well as the establishment of etsy.org, intended to coach vendors on producing their wares and also to establish an educational arm to guide them in running and expanding their businesses.
Mr. Kalin said he informed his company of his changing status “by calling an all-hands meeting. I put on bright coral nail polish. I told them: ‘As everyone knows, a male C.E.O. can’t wear nail polish. So I’m not C.E.O. anymore.’ ”ELLEN ROSEN